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An image of Beatrice Cenci by Harriet Hosmer

Harriet Hosmer

(United States of America, Italy 09 Oct 1830 – 21 Feb 1908)

Beatrice Cenci
Place of origin
Media category
Materials used

44.1 x 106.3 x 43.8 cm (including base 7.9cm)

Signature & date
Signed back of base, "HARRIET HOSMER...". Not dated.
Purchased 1892
Accession number
15th–19th c European art
Further information

Neoclassicism produced a significant number of women sculptors, many of whom were American by birth. Among them, Harriet Hosmer enjoyed perhaps the greatest celebrity, entertaining dignitaries and connoisseurs in her Roman atelier with the practical aplomb of a 'grand maître'. A pupil of John Gibson, her work was widely collected, often on the basis of an interest in her gender as much as her considerable professional merits. Hosmer adapted continental neoclassicism to a personal vision steeped into the classical philosophies of a democratic nation. Capable of producing work on a large scale and to specific order, she was especially proficient in the execution of public monuments. Her smaller works were frequently issued in multiples to accommodate demand. Among her most popular were 'Beatrice Cenci', which exists in several versions.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

Bibliography (4)

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 39.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 36 (colour illus.).

R. Parker and Griselda Pollock, Old mistresses: women, art and idealogy.

Margaret Wendell LaBarre, Harriet Hosmer: her era and her art, 1961-1966.